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Jan 10, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Learn typing

An antique manual typewriter manufactured by Reminington Typewriter Company. Its manual commercial typewriter was first manufactured in 1873.

From their invention in 1868 through much of the 20th century, typewriters were indispensable tools for recording the written word.

Widely used by professional writers and in offices for decades, by the end of the 1980s, electronic typewriters, word processors and personal computers largely displaced typewriters. The manual and electronic typewriters today are not obsolete though.

So please do not throw away the dated manual working typewriters away if the ink ribbons are available in the market. In case the computer is down and you need to type an urgent letter to send, the old typewriter comes in useful. It doesn't mean that old stuff are useless which some people thought.

Without learning to type, a common typing with "hunt and peck" (two-fingered typing), also known as search and peck, in which the typist must find and press each key individually. This is usually slower than touch typing. Instead of relying on the memorized position of keys, the typist must find each key by sight. Use of this method may also prevent the typist from being able to see what has been typed without glancing away from the keys. Although good accuracy may be achieved, any typing errors that are made may not be noticed immediately, if at all. There is also the disadvantage that because fewer fingers are used, they are forced to move a much greater distance.

Typing lessons will guide us through locating and memorizing the letters and numbers on the keyboard and numeric keypad step by step. Everyone of all ages, experiences and abilities to learn timed typing and keyboard shortcuts.

Nowadays, learning tutor lessons are available online with free typing lessons with games to have fun while mastering the keyboard as well as refining our accuracy and speed skills. We will be able to confidently type all the letters, numbers and the most common symbols, with proper ten-finger touch typing technique.

When I attended Outram Secondary School in 1962, it was the only government commercial school in Singapore.

Students were taught how to learn typing and sat for London Chamber of Commerce examinations and later, Cambridge School Certificate examinations with typewriting as a compulsory commercial subject in Outram Secondary School.

In my schooldays when manual portable typewriters to practice at home were not affordable, most of the students use the key guide card which was provided with the typing lesson textbook.

There were a few private schools in Singapore, evening classes under the Adult Education Board and various community centers conducted classes to learn typing.

 Chung Hwa Accountancy School students learning typing class in 1953.

An evening class learning typing in 1954.

Typing class at the Malay Craft Centre, Geylang in 1962.

A typing pool department of an office in 1955.

After 45 years of unfailing and dependable service in 1976, the 63-year-old typewriter was being 'laid to rest' by Mr Koh Hun Wie, a pensioner, the antique machine was given to a typewriter manufacturing firm, Corona Manufacturers Ltd as a company museum.

Visually handicapped children to learn typing in 1973.

In 1976, eighteen-year old physically disabled, Owyong Kwang Ngee, need no longer cry with frustration with his slurred speech was understood by no one. With the aid of this head-gear, Owyong was at least able to express his thoughts and feelings on paper. Owyong, who cannot use his hands as he had no muscular control from his neck downwards, was able to type with the leather head-gear strapped round his head. By moving his head, Owyong could pack at his electric typewriter with the aid of a long iron rod which was attached to the head-gear.

Many ways for everyone to learn typing now and in the past for learning in school, at work and play.

The photos posted on this blog with thanks and acknowledgement to National Archives of Singapore (NAS).



Blogger lim said...

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" Am I right? There was even a competition to find out who's the fastest of them all. It was as recent as 1988 when I last used a typewriter. Electronic typewriter came into the scene briefly before the pc word processor killed the typewriter once and for all.

January 10, 2012 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

That unforgotten phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" was etched in my mind since schooldays when I was learning typewriting in school.

I was surprised that the info available from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia here.

Thank you for helping me to remember, Mr Lim.

January 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes and the HOME keys, where your fingers are placed comfortably at ASDF;LKJ with G and H in the centre, on each side of the eight fingers. The Touch Method it's called.

And the words Pitman', 'Shorthand' and 'Stenographer' were synonymous with all typewriting classes where secretaries learnt their trade.

I spent a few months at Lorong 30 Geylang in a secretarial school called, 'INSTITUTE OF TYPISTS AND STENOGRAPHERS' in the 1950s.

January 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger lim said...

Anyone who uses the Courier font in word processor knows it originates from the manual typewriter days.

When PC came along, it was pretty easy to design the keyboard. So in a sense, the legacy of the typewriter is etched in immortality by the keyboard.

The Chinese language actually underwent a state of crisis with the advent of the computer. If Chinese characters could not be input into the pc, then there could be no choice but to romanize the Chinese language. But someone came up with a simple idea, and the beautiful Chinese Script is saved.

January 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

My Outramian classmate Roger Soh wrote:

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012

Old Outramians James, LKK Soh & myself learned our typings in early 60s with those very old noisy and robust manual typewriters similar to the pictures printed below.

I'd mastered my typing with speed and accuratcy with my 10 fingers by practising countless times regularly typing:-

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog - (a to z - 26 letters alphabet).

;;) batting eyelashesCheers!;;) batting eyelashes

Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012

Thanks for the memories, Roger.

If I remember correctly, there was this corner room on the 2nd storey beside the canteen in the old school building at Outram Road.

You are right, the typing room was so noisy when everyone starting to type our lessons.

Just cannot believe we could bear through the banging and thumping with those heavy machines...
and every time it ends each line after typing, we can hear the sound of the bell on the typewriter...hahaha

Your are one of the best speed wonder your fingers were quite rough...

Those were the days of the manual mechanical typewriters. We have gone through those times to master typewriting didn't we. Now using the computer keyboards is "sap sap sui" right!


January 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

You are right, Mr Lim.

The manual mechanical typewriters in the past is limited only to Courier font.

The use of font styles and sizes, and especially Chinese characters on the old typewriter was not as versatile and flexibility as the modern-day word processors on computers.

Moreover, whenever typing mistakes were made on the "grandfather typewriters" in those days, either to change to a new piece of paper or use "blanko liquid" to erase and to dry up the liquid before typing.

The features for word-processors on computer, smooth, silent and fast, have all the advantages to "edit, delete, copy and paste, font-styles and sizes, every available languages, insert images, link to online websites,
email directly without printing these documents and a whole list of advantages using the computers today.

Although I am sentimental and nostalgic memories about the manual mechanical typewriters in the past, I am realistic and practical that there is no ways for anyone to return to use these antique typewriters as a "workhorse" for modern day worklife. Time has changed. Thanks to the invention of computers.

However, the lessons we have learnt using the old-days typewriters are as useful and applicable as using the computers on keyboards (mouse pointing devices and touchscreen alternatives) today!


January 12, 2012 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

The old typewriter machines may be obsolete and outdated, but the elderly typists are adaptable, updated and able to learn new technology stuff to use computers applications with typing knowledge learned in the past.

Old people with new knowledge is still useful today!

January 12, 2012 at 3:46 PM  

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